According to growth analysts Frost & Sullivan, more patient-friendly therapeutic systems – such as oral rather than injectable drugs – would improve clinical outcomes in this difficult area.
Sub-optimal diagnosis and treatment reinforce the perception that MS is ‘untreatable’, resulting in poor patient compliance, the report notes.
F&S estimate the European MS drug market – immunosuppressants, immunomodulators and corticosteroids – at $3.2 billion in 2010, due to reach $5.38 billion in 2017.
A chronic and often fatal neurodegenerative disease, MS affects nearly 550,000 people in the EU.
According to F&S Research Analyst Deepika Pramod Chopda, “The rising number of people suffering from MS is resulting in higher demand for therapeutics. This, coupled with strong pipeline development, is pushing robust growth in the overall market.”
However, he noted, poor disease awareness and patient compliance are limiting progress in this therapy area. “Refined drug delivery technologies, mode of drug delivery (oral or injectable), and several other factors will encourage the use of MS drugs among patients,” he said.
“Novel treatment options will also promote the concept of combination therapies, accelerating market development.”
In addition, Deepika said, the lack of sensitive diagnostics is limiting the application of drug therapies.
“Non-compliance with MS treatment procedures remains a major challenge,” he argued. “Establishing end-user confidence has become difficult due to unsatisfactory therapeutic results.”
The solution, he said, lies in public education through healthcare forums and organisations of the more innovative treatment options, combined with measures to make such options more widely available.